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SUPERLady LIVE TALK: Ask the Expert Series … April 2017, is a great month to speak to Dr. Jonita Wallace Reynolds, sharing “LEADhership, the simple approach”. Is there a difference between leadership and LEADhership? Well, if you know Dr. Jonita then you know that there is definitely a difference between leadership and LEADhership.
As the CEO of the Gulf Coast Community Service Association with a 12 year career in the Houston School District, Dr. Wallace Reynolds became the Chief Executive Officer for Gulf Coast Community Service Association Inc., Texas’ largest community active agency! Since 2004, she has worked tirelessly with her team of 375 full-time employees to educate, equip, and empower the unserved and underserved citizens of Harris County. With the annual budget and excess of 20 million dollars and a host of community partners Gulf Coast Community Service Association, or GGCSA, Dr. Wallace Reynolds has facilitated the economic independence of millions of residence through intensive care case management and services. This includes workforce development, vocational training, early childhood education, Head Start, Early Head Start and adult literacy. Dr. Jonita Wallace-Reynolds has a numerous of awards to back up her well-done service over the years. She is truly a Trailblazer of our time!
A Moment With “Dr. J”, as she is affectionately known as.
So, who is Dr. Jonita?
- Well, my mantra in life is to be thoroughly used up when I die, because I never know the day nor the hour. I give it my all and I’m in it to win it so that somebody else will see me letting my light shine. I want to make sure that we as ladies and leading ladies understand where I’m coming from. I do believe that we are all spiritual beings and that we are all sharing this human experience. As individuals sharing this experience, everywhere I go and everywhere you go, you are the instrument that can either project life or cast shadows. Are you allowing your light to shine so that others can see a pathway towards their purpose?
We know a little about your attitude, now who is the lady that transitioned from education to social services (non-profit world)?
- Breaking the stereotype of the lady from South Park Texas. A lot of what I do now can directly connect me back to how I grew up and the values that were instilled in me. If you had asked me when I was growing up, “Will you be the CEO of a large nonprofit corporation?”, that was not in my mind nor my purpose. My purpose was to be a Superintendent of a large, urban school district. I was very purposeful about the steps to get their pertaining to my college pursuit and my career choices. I reached a point in my life, like many of us do, where I checked my compass and I thought I arrived but then I realized I was not on the right wall. I realized I was not fully satisfied with me not using every single part of my being. My passion has always been to help those who were the least, the last, the lost, the left out, and the forgotten about. Because it is my passion and I am helping others, I don’t really get overwhelmed about the fact that it’s a multi million-dollar corporation.
As a leader, how important is being authentic when leading others?
- Being authentic is very important to me. When you have to choose between food and life or you are going through other personal devastating challenges, I know personally those struggles and those challenges. We never know when we’re going to be homeless or when we are going to be in a situation where we need that handout. Therefore, every single day our team is poised and it’s not easy but it’s a choice that we make because we’re here not so give you “the fish”. It is not about a handout, but it is about a hand up! I do believe that we are spiritual beings sharing this human experience and so I feel that it’s a personal obligation that I have to be my brother’s keeper and/or my sister’s keeper. It is the essence of humankind, if you will. And so our philosophy here is if we give you a fish, of course we help you for that day, but then we teach you how to fish and this means that we are teaching you for a lifetime. The other part is that we take it to another level and prepare you to be in the position to buy the pawn.
So, part of this LEADhership is realizing we’ve got to be innovative in are approaches every day. We’ve got to see a situation different so that we are relevant and we’re not just your average non-profit.
So Dr. J, what is cutting-edge about GCCSA?
- What is cutting-edge about us is this that we’ve taken those, through no fault of their own society, has been put to the side, those who have been recently been incarcerated, those who may not have been able to obtain their GED for whatever reason, and those who may not be in a job and allow them to make ends meet. We partner with like-minded organizations so that we can assist those individuals towards their pathway to self-efficiency.
As you are leading this “ship” and providing these services, What would you say is the difference between leadership and LEADhership?
- So leadership, in my opinion, is one who has a vision of where he or she wants to go and accomplishes that vision through others. LEADhership, in the spirit in which I wrote it, was to have layered meanings. However, LEADhership has an extra element. This is owning your vessel. Understanding not only who you are, but also whose you are. It has a more spiritual element understanding that the ways of life that you find yourself navigating in won’t necessarily overwhelm you if you don’t allow them access into your inner being.
- Also, LEADhership recognizing that what is around you does not necessarily have to envelop you. It’s having the ability to arise above what may be overwhelming and deterring the course. We have the ability to respond to the situation and there is some responsibility to that. With that being said, there are several levels. Lastly, because I believe in celebrating my leading ladies, of course, I love the HER part because as a young CEO 14 years, as a female, I made no excuses about it. I’m also sober about the parameters and the limitation the society decided to place around me and within the corporate world, it happens.
As a good leader, what does the quality of focus do for a good leader when he/she is building a great team?
- I know that most may be familiar with Helen Keller, who as we know was blind, and she responded very candidly to have sight and no vision. To me to be focused is to have laser, sharp vision on what the priority is. When you are focused, you are not easily distracted by low priority activities but you’re keen on what it is that we need to accomplish collectively and then what are we supposed to accomplish individually. That is qualities as a leader. Focus is a critical component to leaders and leadership.
What are somethings that I can constantly work on to be heard so that I can “own my voice at the table” and not be seen as aggressive?
- My style, and I can speak from that, is that I have a lot of confidence and I am assured to know that you owned a seat at the table. And so that is definitely an accomplishment.
- I can tell you that I have an allergic reaction to individuals sometimes who are around the table who enjoy hearing themselves talk randomly and not necessarily about the matter at hand. If you have been invited to the table have the confidence of knowing that you have earned a seat at the table and this is about knowing what you know. You have a level of expertise that you’re bringing and so own that knowledge.
- Being prepared to speak intelligentlyabout your area of expertise is important, as well. Sometimes I go to a meeting and I’m observing the place. Especially, my first time meeting the individuals and I’m very present. I’m totally immersed in the conversation and when I speak I say something. So, what I encourage leaders to do is when they do speak make sure that you be a voice and not an echo. Always making sure that what is being said is communicated clearly concisely and competently. We have a very short window for individuals to decide to cast judgement to whether or not you can add value to the conversation and so capitalizing on that window of time that you have been given is valuable.
What are two qualities that you can leave with our audience about building a successful team through the power to LEADhership?
- WOW. *Chuckles* As a leader and building a team, and I’m going to color outside the lines, first you need to cash. And I don’t mean cash as in the normal sense but you do want to have the C.A.S.H… Confidence, Attitude, Skills, Habits.
- I know you know the saying “show me the money”, so if every member of your team wants to see the money then they have to come with the CASH. When building a team, you have to identify those who are going to be a part of your team that have the CASH.
- Then, the second component of building that team is making sure that the team is unequivocally committed to the vision. A lot of people believe that they should be committed to the leader but to me it’s the vision they should be committed to. People are too imperfect which is the beauty of human nature, but the vision, once its cast that course is set. That is very, very critical.
If you could speak to a younger Jonita, what would you tell her about preparing herself for greatness because leadership is in her future? What are some things the she can do now?
- So, what I would tell my younger self is what I tell everybody every chance that I get. Whether it is to speak on a more formal level or informally, that leadership is as all about the lead component. If you don’t get anything else from this interview this is the most important part because regardless of where you are in life there are no circumstance around you more powerful than the power that is within you. And so, you have the ability to lead then it’s not about what happens to you but it is about what happens from you.
- Love yourself and Lift others. Love yourself knowing that you are an unrepeatable, miracle that exist on this Earth. Do you. Love yourself. Lift others.
- Educate to elevate. If you don’t know, then you need to either identify those who do know and surround yourself with those individuals or you need to research or go to school. Knowledge is power. With an education, this world will be your playground. Without one, the south park in me would say, you will get played.
- Aim high. If excellence is possible, then good is not enough. Aiming High is constantly stretching. You want to avoid mediocrity. If it’s not painful than you have not hit the right muscles today.
- Determined to succeed. Failure is not the issue, it’s quitting that is the issue. Storms will come, the storms have come, the storms will knock you down but they won’t knock you out. Look up for your hook up and be determined to succeed.
This interview has been fruitful and eye-opening. We loved hearing Dr. Jonita Wallace Reynolds’ quick sayings that people can bite and be able to take with them. Remember to love yourself and lift others, educated to elevate, aim high and avoid mediocracy, determine to succeed.
READERS … We challenge you as you go and prepare, before you go to bed, there are some things that you can write down from these nuggets that you can focus on for tomorrow. NOT multi-task. But, to focus on tomorrow and make a concerning effort to get through it to completion.
Join us next month as we take to Dannette K. Davis, CEO of Kay Davis & Associates on May 9, 2017 at 8pm CST about “Why planning your space matters when planning a successful business.”
Transcribed by: Ericka Warnita of Her Nature
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“LEADHership, the simple approach”
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2. Spend quality not quantity time with people who you value and value you. How do you know? Both are looking for ways to build, help, empower or expose your talents/gifts. We have … one hand to give & one hand to receive.
Ex. – When planning a meeting, have a plan. Do your homework. Make sure you know who you are meeting with and what he or she is passionate about. Tap into that zone. Share some information that will feed his or her passion before you ever ask for anything.
Before the ask, make sure you know how your propose aligns with their personal or business goals. Be clear. Be precise. And most importantly, thank him or her for their time & the opportunity to share.
Lastly, FOLLOW-UP within 3 to 4 days with what you discussed in the format he or she wants.
One hand to give & One hand to receive.
Nearly half of the businesses with black CEOs cluster around our nation’s capital–in Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia–and a third overall provide services to government agencies. The remaining companies are spread among five Southern states, plus California, Michigan, New York, and New Jersey.
While this is just a sample of the entrepreneurial landscape in America, the U.S. Census Bureau’s data on African American-owned businesses is only a little higher. In its most recent Survey of Business Owners in 2012, a little over 9 percent of companies had black owners–up from 7 percent in 2007.
Even compared with other minority-run businesses on the Inc. 5000, 1.5 percent is low. CEOs who identified as East Asian make up 2.4 percent, and Hispanics or Latinos represent 3.8 percent.
Literally, I was sitting in my office working on our upcoming 2017 SUPERLady HOUSTON Calendar Soirée deadline and received a message. When I called, I was asked to be a guest on the @AlRuckerShow, Friday, Oct 21 @1pm CST. KKBQ FM 92.9 FM HD2
1) I know my purpose & am focused on being GREAT for those who I am assigned to & who are assigned to me whether speaking, One-on-One clients, Master Mind groups or Mentoring entrepreneurs or SUPERGirls;
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Move Away From Fear & Keep GOING!!!
Women Owned Business in the United States
- More than 9.4 million firms are owned by women, employing nearly 7.9 million people, and generating $1.5 trillion in sales as of 2015.
- Women-owned firms (51% or more) account for 31% of all privately held firms and contribute 14% of employment and 12% of revenues.
- Over the past seven years, the overall increase of 8.3 million (net) new jobs is comprised of a 9.2 million increase in employment in large, publicly traded corporations, combined with a 893,000 decline in employment among smaller, privately held companies.
Businesses Owned by Women of Color
- 2.9 million firms are majority-owned by women of color in the U.S.
- These firms employ 1.4 million people and generate $226 billion in revenues annually.
Million Dollar Businesses
- One in five firms with revenue of $1 million or more is woman-owned.
- 4.2% of all women-owned firms have revenues of 1 million or more.
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